About Dr Samantha Hardy

Associate Professor Samantha Hardy PhD has been mediating and conflict coaching since 1997. She practices primarily in the workplace context, and in the university sector. Sam is a Nationally Accredited Mediator under the Australian Standards and a Certified Transformative Mediator by the US Institute of Conflict Transformation. She is an experienced conflict coach and the co-founder of the REAL Conflict Coaching System. Sam has a particular interest in education and has been recognized as a leader in this field, including receiving a University Teaching Excellence Award, a National Carrick Citation for an Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning and a Fellow of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australia. She is an adjunct and teaches at various universities including James Cook University, the University of New South Wales, the University of Tasmania, the Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy, and is an Affiliate Scholar at the Center for the Study of Narrative and Conflict Resolution within the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. Sam has published widely in conflict resolution, including her books Dispute Resolution in Australia, 3rd Ed. (2014) co-authored with David Spencer, Mediation for Lawyers (2010) co-authored with Olivia Rundle, and Sex, Gender, Sexuality and the Law: Social and legal issues facing individuals, couples and families (2016) co-authored with Olivia Rundle and Damien Riggs.

New edition: Dispute Resolution in Australia: Cases, Commentary and Materials by SPENCER and HARDY

DR in Aust 3rd Ed

 This third edition of Dispute Resolution in Australia: Cases, Commentary and Materials highlights the consolidation of the process of dispute management and resolution, particularly in the government sector. We are now seeing the full impact of government changes to the handling of civil disputation, with the establishment and fusing of specialist tribunals and commissions. The result of the creation of these extra-judicial bodies has been a reduction in some jurisdictions of matters proceeding to trial. The interesting side-effect of this development is the rise of dispute resolution processes within these specialist tribunals and commissions that seek resolution of disputes in order to avoid hearings.

This new edition brings the law up-to-date and features:

  • A new chapter on conflict coaching
  • A re-written chapter on the key elements of arbitral procedures and the common law surrounding arbitral practice featuring the new Uniform Commercial Arbitration Acts
  • A new chapter on dispute resolution and the criminal law system
  • A new chapter on dispute resolution and industrial relations.

Dispute Resolution in Australia: Cases, Commentary and Materials, third edition, is an invaluable resource for both students and practitioners, providing practical guidance and analysis in this dynamic area of the law.

  • Contents
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Understanding Disputes
  • Chapter 3: Negotiation
  • Chapter 4: Mediation
  • Chapter 5: Conflict Coaching
  • Chapter 6: Other Dispute Resolution Processes
  • Chapter 7: Arbitration
  • Chapter 8: Dispute Resolution in Criminal Law
  • Chapter 9: Dispute Resolution in Family Law
  • Chapter 10: Dispute Resolution in the Workplace
  • Chapter 11: Online Dispute Resolution
  • Chapter 12: The State and Dispute Resolution
  • Chapter 13: Culture and Dispute Resolution
  • Chapter 14: Legal Issues
  • Chapter 15: Ethics, Standards and Dispute Resolution
  • Chapter 16: The Future of Dispute Resolution

NEW REPORT: Current and emerging career trends in conflict resolution

Robert J. Rhudy from the Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office has just released a preliminary report on current and emerging career trends in conflict resolution.  While the report focuses on the United States, many of the findings are equally applicable in the Australian context.

The information in the preliminary report (which is 61 pages long) is taken from a range of sources including interviews with conflict resolution professionals, professors, and other knowledgable people across the US, and through literature searches and internet reviews of job listings.

Rhudy concludes that there is good news and bad news about the current situation in the US, summarised as “The field continues to have a high supply of providers, low market demand, and high social need”.  There was, however, also optimism that as economic conditions improved, there would be more opportunities in the field of conflict resolution.

The report identifies that as well as people making a career in conflict resolution, many public and private organisations are now looking for conflict resolution skills in their employees, so having these skills increases employment and promotion opportunities.

A particularly encouraging finding is that, with the growth of academic programs in the field, there has been a corresponding growth in academic research and publishing about conflict resolution, and a growing recognition of the importance of this research.

The full report contains much more detail and quotes from influential people in the field. There is also a section with practical advice about how to get work and make a career in conflict resolution.

The full report is available here: http://www.mediate.com/pdf/Current&EmergingCareerTrends.pdf

New report on Alternative Dispute Resolution Services in Australia

IBISWorld research has just released a report on Alternative Dispute Resolution Services in Australia (IBISWorld Industry Report OD4116, February 2014).

The report is summed up with the phrase “Undisputed growth: Demand for industry services as an alternative to litigation increases”.

The executive summary of the report explains:

The Alternative Dispute Resolution Services industry in Australia provides individuals and corporations avenues to resolve disputes that do not involve litigation. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), generally consisting of mediation, conciliation and arbitration, has surged in popularity during the past decade, underpinning strong growth in industry revenue and profitability. Industry revenue is expected to grow at an annualised 6.4% over the five years through 2013-14 to be worth $682.9 million, with growth of 6.0% forecast for the current year.

Growth has been underpinned by the increasing use of ADR to solve commercial, family and workplace disputes. ADR provides a number of benefits relative to litigation. ADR is generally cheaper, faster, more flexible and confidential, and less adversarial than going to court. Since the mid-1990s, governments have supported the use of ADR by introducing a number of mandatory and optional schemes, particularly in the areas of employment, family and commercial arbitration law. Business has also turned to ADR, as the tight economic climate, rising cost of litigation and threat of reputational damage and class actions led companies to seek an alternative to litigation. Both trends are expected to continue over the next five years.

The increased scope of industry activity has encouraged many new players to enter the industry and existing players to expand, while employment has also grown strongly. As the industry becomes more established, this growth in enterprises and establishments is expected to slow. However, employment growth is likely to continue at a similar rate as existing players grow their businesses.

The reforms of the past few years have positioned the industry well for growth, with governments and business expected to continue turning to ADR as an alternative to litigation. During the five years through 2018-19, industry revenue is expected to grow at an annualised 4.4% to reach $845.2 million. There is still room for the industry to compete with traditional legal services. The movement into new areas and the expansion of activity as current reforms are adopted will continue to support industry revenue growth.

Some of the interesting findings of the report include:

  • There are about 1,456 businesses in the industry in Australia.
  • Market share in the industry is primarily held by big law firms.
  • Key external drivers for the ADR industry in Australia include: Capital expenditure by the private sector, days lost to industrial disputes, the price of legal and accounting fees, and the number of divorces.
  • The ADR industry is in a growth stage, has low barriers to entry, and medium levels of competition (concentrated in NSW and Vic).
  • Fees charged by industry participants have risen in line with demand for services, leading to a boost in profitability.
  • Mediation comprises about 38.7% of the market, 36.2% is arbitration, 19.3% conciliation and 5.8% other.

The whole report is available at http://www.ibisworld.com.au.

Lawyers as coaches for self-represented litigants

A very interesting blog post by Dr Julie Macfarlane in which she sketches out the basics of a lawyer-coach role as an additional way of offering legal services.


The melodrama of conflict

One of my big projects at the moment is working on a book called the Melodrama of Conflict.  My theory is that people who are not managing conflict well tend to tell their story of conflict in the genre of melodrama (the proper classical genre, not the way we use the term colloquially).

Professor Nadja Alexander and I developed the REAL Conflict Coaching System to support people in conflict to move away from dysfunctional melodramatic conflict narratives.  We want our clients to move from being a passive victim to being the active hero of their future conflict story.  It might sound weird, but I think a better genre for a constructive conflict narrative is tragedy.

To find out more, listen to my talk to the International Coaching Federation in the USA on coaching people through the melodrama of conflict (this is a recording of the tele-seminar, so there’s a bit of chit chat at the start as people logged into the call): http://www.freeconference.com/RecordingDownload.aspx?R=13352997&C=734&E=193325

Crowd funding sought for new mediation television drama series

Shift is a one-hour scripted television drama series that reveals the inner workings of the world of conflict resolution. In the same way The West Wing showed us how the sausage is made behind the scenes in the White House, Shift reveals the often hidden world of conflict transformation. This series is dramatically compelling, culturally rich and truly meaningful to our lives.

How Well Developed is This Project?

Shift has traveled far on the road of development. We have three complete one-hour scripts and additional treatments for 13 episodes, with hundreds of additional conflict scenarios you will find compelling. We are ready to launch into production, given the right talent pool and studio connections. We believe producing this trailer will put us over the top and give us what we need to demonstrate what we can do to the right people.

What is Portrayed in the Trailer?

The trailer showcases one of our lead characters, Ray Gopaul, who is an African-American former Marine and Viet Nam veteran. Ray is a consummate mediator and an ace crisis negotiator. He gravitates to the edgy, dangerous realms of conflict, working with street gangs, murderers and civil war combatants. He’s always pushing the envelope, testing the comfort zone of his colleagues and his clients.

In the trailer, Ray initiates work on a case that screams scandal from the headlines. He throws himself into this case, which is universally believed to be hopeless. In the trailer, you will see how Ray shifts a defendant found guilty of a heinous crime toward a willingness to participate in Restorative Justice as part of the sentencing phase of his trial.

See more here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/shift–21